PowerWash simulator gamers can now help researchers understand the mental health impact of games—at least those in which people use virtual pressure washers to clean things.
The game’s developer, FuturLab, says in a steam update(Opens in a new window) that it is partnering with researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford in what it calls “a one-of-a-kind anonymous research study centered around the well-being of PowerWash Simulator players” that “also aims to provide insights into the larger gaming and mental health discourse.”
The study is being conducted through a dedicated branch of PowerWash Simulator known as the Research Edition. This version of simulation game is limited to English speakers, does not support multiplayer game modes, and features a new character through which researchers will be able to ask players “extremely short” questions about their experience.
FuturLab says PowerWash Simulator Research Edition also collects “metrics on player progress, shop purchases, general gameplay activities, etc.” which will be anonymous and de-identified. This information will be accessible to the company and researchers alike. FuturLab says it will not have access to the answers provided in response to researchers’ questions.
The developer notes that progress in the main version of PowerWash Simulator will not carry over to the research version. However, players who participate in the study will receive exclusive in-game items and those cosmetics will carry over to the main game. Information about participating in this study, returning to the main game, etc. is available through FuturLab’s Web page(Opens in a new window).
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FuturLab says it plans to make the research version of PowerWash Simulator available at least until November 18, but hasn’t decided exactly how long players will be able to participate in the study.
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